As negotiations between Senate Democrats and Republicans about a deal to avoid a so-called "fiscal cliff" that could kick the country back into a recession are currently stalled, President Obama appeared on a special episode of Meet the Press to discuss the situation and express his thoughts on why nothing has been set in stone yet with only a day to go before the January 1st deadline. The reason, he said, is because the GOP is behaving as if their "only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected," as opposed to making sure the deficit is dealt with in a serious manner.
Speaking to Meet the Press host David Gregory, the president explained:
"I offered not only a trillion dollars in-- over a trillion dollars in spending cuts over the next 10 years, but these changes would result in even more savings in the next 10 years. And would solve our deficit problem for a decade...at some point I think what's going to be important is that they listen to the American people. I think that over the next 48 hours, my hope is that people recognize that, regardless of partisan differences, our top priority has to be to make sure that taxes on middle class families do not go up that would hurt our economy badly."
The president also referenced his track record in the past two years, and added that he decreased the amount of spending by over a trillion dollars, in 2011.
"I put forward a very specific proposal to do that. I negotiated with Speaker [John] Boehner in good faith and moved more than halfway in order to achieve a grand bargain. I offered over a trillion dollars in additional spending cuts so that we would have two dollars of spending cuts for every one dollar of increased revenue. I think anybody objectively who's looked at this would say that, you know, we have put forward not only a sensible deal but one that has the support of the majority of the American people, including close to half of Republicans."
The president also discussed his thoughts on the country's gun control laws, and expressed his intentions to impliment some changes in his coming term.
After the interview was released, House Speaker John Boehner fired back at President Obama, releasing a statement saying that the president shouldn't "cast blame" on the GOP for the stalled negotiations so late in the game. "The president’s comments today are ironic, as a recurring theme of our negotiations was his unwillingness to agree to anything that would require him to stand up to his own party," Boehner wrote. "We’ve been reasonable and responsible. The president is the one who has never been able to get to 'yes.'"
You can check out Obama's interview above, or head over to NBC News to watch the full Meet the Press episode.
[via NBC News]